KENNESAW — Harrison forced Rome to turn the ball over four times — all on fumbles — but it failed to take advantage of the first three opportunities.
The Hoyas, however, capitalized on the fourth, keeping Rome 2 yards short of the end zone.
From there, Harrison chewed out the remaining 3:50 off the clock, securing a narrow 22-20 victory over Class AAAAA No. 7 Rome on Friday night at Bruce Cobleigh Stadium.
On second-and-goal from the Harrison 2-yard-line with 4 minutes left, Rome’s Jamious Griffin lost the ball before crossing the plane, and the Hoyas’ C.J. Turner recovered it for a touchback. The miscue spoiled an otherwise great game for Griffin, who had 177 rushing yards on 17 carries.
Harrison (2-0) took over on its own 20 following the touchback, and quarterback Justin Fields rushed for a pair of first downs to run off the remainder of the clock and get the win. The second first down came on Fields’ 12-yard pick-up, in which he spun his way down the middle, through the Rome defense.
It was Fields who accounted for Harrison’s go-ahead touchdown at the 5:09 mark, when he burst through the line of scrimmage on first down for a 65-yard touchdown.
It appeared that Rome (0-1) would answer quickly on its next drive. Two Harrison personal-foul calls helped put the Wolves on the 2-yard line before their fatal miscue.
After the score was knotted at 7-all at the end of the first half, the teams traded scores throughout the second half, with Harrison getting the last laugh.
It was the Hoyas who struck first after halftime, when Fields hit Steven Peterson for 18 yards down the right sideline. Rome’s Trai Hodges had Peterson wrapped up, but Peterson shook him off and trotted into the end zone for a 28-yard touchdown catch.
Harrison’s extra-point attempt was blocked, however, and it had to settle for the six-point lead.
Rome answered by going 83 yards on three plays, highlighted by a 78-yard pickup by Griffin. After a Harrison penalty tacked on extra yards for Rome, Jalynn Sykes finished the drive from 8 yards out.
Harrison retook the lead late in the third quarter on a 20-yard field goal by Alexander Raynor, and Rome regained a four-point lead midway through the first when Sykes scored his third touchdown.
In the first half, Harrison scored on the third play of its opening drive when Fields hit Clark on a slant that resulted in a 70-yard touchdown.
Rome answered back three plays later when quarterback Knox Kadum connected to Jordan Watkins on a catch-and-run for 35 yards that set up a 9-yard touchdown run from Sykes.
Fields was 12 of 26 passing for 216 yards and two touchdown passes. He also had 13 carries for 132 yards.
Peterson tacked on 108 yards and a touchdown on seven catches.